Primary Outcome

Absence of psychological and problem behaviors

Prenatal

Very young children can manifest early predictors of future mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders. For example, most 2- and 3-year-olds are distractible and emotional, but there is both a qualitative and a quantitative difference with how some children show rather extreme hyperactivity, opposition, defiance, or inability to self-regulate their upsets. Babies, too, can evidence disturbed behaviors and emotions—such as persistent crying, inability to be soothed, or lethargy or “limpness” to human interactions. Toddlers who seem not to respond to adults, who do not start using language, or who begin but then lose skills they have gained, such as language, are at risk for psychological problems. Early signs of aggression can also mean the child is at risk for mental, emotional, and behavioral problems.

Childhood

During childhood, young people who are free of psychological and behavioral problems are more likely to continue developing successfully across all areas of life. Three problems that are especially important to monitor and prevent during childhood are: (1) aggressive behavior with other children, (2) uncooperative behavior with teachers and adults, and (3) continual sadness or excessive worrying. Children who are more aggressive with other children are more likely to have problems making friends and are more likely to have serious behavior problems, including criminal activity, as adolescents and adults. Children who refuse follow instructions from teachers and adults are more likely to have difficulties in the classroom and more often get in unsafe situations at home and in the neighborhood. Persistent sadness or excessive worry can signal larger problems like depression or unusual anxiety that can cause difficulties in many areas of life. Fortunately, a lot is known about how to prevent, monitor, and even treat these problems to ensure children continue to reach their highest potential.

Early Adolescence

The leading causes of death among young adolescents are injuries, homicide, and suicide.1 Many health and social problems result from early, unplanned, unsafe, and/or risky sexual activity among young people, including teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases. We know what psychological and behavioral problems are risks for these terrible outcomes: we can measure them and we can prevent them.2,3 The important problems that are important to monitor and prevent include (1) alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use, (2) violent and delinquent behaviors, (3) depression and suicide, and (4) risky sexual behaviors.

Adolescence

Most young people die from motor vehicle crashes, homicide and suicide.4 And many health and social problems result from early, unplanned, unsafe and/or risky sexual activity among young people, including teenage pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (cite). We know what psychological and behavioral problems are risks for these terrible outcomes, we can measure them and we can prevent them.2,3 The important problems that are important to monitor and prevent include: (1) alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, (2) violent and delinquent behaviors, (3) depression and suicide, and (4) risky sexual behaviors.

Related Interventions

Programs

References


  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009).  

  2. National Institutes of Health (2008). Research results for the public: Type 2 Diabetes. Last accessed February 16, 2010 at www.nih.gov/about/researchresultsforthepublic/Type2Diabetes.pdf.  

  3. National Research Council & Institute of Medicine. (2009). Preventing mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders among young people: progress and possibilities. Committee on the Prevention of Mental Disorders and Substance Use Among Children, Youth, and Young Adults: Research Advances and Promising Interventions. Mary Ellen O'Connell, Thomas Boat, and Kenneth E. Warner, Editors. Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.  

  4. Xu J, Kochanek KD, Tejada-Vera B. (2009). Deaths: Preliminary data for 2007. National vital statistics reports, 58(1). Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.